At one point or another, marketing teams resort to using techniques that are generally frowned upon by the online community. It will probably take a long time until the marketing realm is totally rid of these so-called “black hat” strategies, but Google is determined in its crusade against stopping it once and for all.
One of these resolutions is the recent requirement of nofollow tags in links from other websites.
The modus operandi
One of the traditional, overused tactics in SEO is to try and get as many backlinks from authority websites as possible. This is because those websites regarded as having high PR can influence the “linkers” in terms of authority, thus boosting their chances of getting a high rank. This happens despite of Google’s insistence that PageRank be treated as the strongest factor in SERP rankings.
This activity also poses a dilemma for websites in their fear that Google may suspect them as a “link seller”. But now, Google requires links to include the rel=”nofollow” tag to stop passing on authority “credit” to other sites, and to thus avoid being penalized.
So when do you need to use a nofollow link?
If your site supports paid links, you need to use nofollow in order to keep these links from giving credit to other sites. Also, if your site has a comment section that you don’t always monitor, using nofollow links prevents commenters from getting credit from you, as well as posting bad links that could hurt your SERP rankings. This also applies to content posts that other people may contribute on your business blog.
Nofollow is also helpful when embedding media (such as infographics) or widgets that you obtained from other sites. The thing is, you don’t want Google to think that you’re endorsing those sources, so you need to make sure credit is not passed on to them.
Obviously, you also wouldn’t want to boost the authority of your competitors, so you need to make sure you attach a nofollow tag when linking to a site that most probably belongs in the same industry as yours.
There is nothing to fear so long as you stick by the rules
Google’s intentions are, at the end of the day, for everyone’s welfare. It may be a hurdle to our current marketing situation, especially to those who have been accustomed to using their own strategies, but it’s healthier to compete in leveled field rather than allowing a few to get ahead by not following the rules.